Redefining the Quaternary

sciblog…from ScientificBlogging

“Committees and organizations usually start for the right reasons but over time they need to become self-perpetuating.

“The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has managed to milk entire decades out of deciding the boundary dates for the Quaternary Age, which covers both the ice age and moment early man first started to use tools, and it seems they have finally voted on an answer.

“Voting in science?   Indeed, they have formally agreed to move the boundary dates for the prehistoric Quaternary age by 800,000 years, reports the Journal of Quaternary Science.”

We Need a Concerted Global Research Drive into the Potential and Pitfalls of Geoengineering

ns_logo…from NewScientist

“The problem with all of these schemes is that we have little clue whether they would work. Some of the best evidence so far comes from the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which obligingly conducted a large-scale experiment for us on the effect of injecting sulphur into the upper atmosphere. From a global cooling perspective, the results were encouraging: temperatures sank temporarily by up to 0.5 °C. It remains unclear, however, whether the effects of sulphur on global weather patterns can be predicted or controlled. The dangers include triggering severe regional droughts, and even destroying the ozone layer.

“Faced with such dangers, it would be foolhardy to do anything yet. What we need is a concerted global research drive into the potential and pitfalls of geoengineering. It will take decades to establish which of the possibilities are feasible, effective and safe, what their costs would be, and for whom. Such a programme – encompassing modelling and small-scale experiments, as well as research into the international legal implications of such schemes – need not be expensive, says Steve Rayner of the University of Oxford. It would be small change compared with, say, what is needed to develop alternative energy technologies.”

Call for Presentations: 2010 ESRI Education User Conference

educKnowledge-Sharing is What this Event is All About

“Whatever your field, position, or GIS experience, be part of the knowledge-sharing and submit an abstract for possible presentation at the event. Communicate to your peers about your best practices, successes, and innovative GIS applications. User presentations enrich the experience of both attendees and presenters. The sharing of insights, tips, and lessons learned, as well as the networking these sessions lead to, is unbeatable. We can’t wait to hear your GIS story.”